Radiolysis of sulfonamide antibiotics in aqueous solution: Degradation efficiency and assessment of antibacterial activity, toxicity and biodegradability of products

Gyuri Sági, Anikó Bezsenyi, Krisztina Kovács, Szandra Klátyik, Béla Darvas, A. Székács, Csilla Mohácsi-Farkas, E. Takács, L. Wojnárovits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Numerous studies have been published on the radiolysis of sulfonamide antibiotic solutions but little effort has been made to monitor the biological properties of degradation products. A complex approach should also clarify the changes in antibacterial activity and biodegradability, besides the usual screening of toxicity. To fill this gap, the ionizing radiation induced degradation of four sulfonamide antibiotics was investigated in dilute aqueous solutions, with emphasis on the biological assessment of decomposition products. Complete removal of sulfonamides was achieved by a low absorbed dose (1.5 kGy). 2–2.5 kGy dose was needed to transform the persistent initial molecules to substances biodegradable in both river water and activated sludge. The ratio of the biological and chemical oxygen demand increased from < 0.21 to at least 0.59, but values as high as 0.80 were also measured. It was demonstrated that antibacterial activity is due to the initial molecules, as it disappeared when the sulfamethoxazole concentration decreased below the minimal inhibitory concentration (30 μM). This means that the products have no antibacterial activity. Toxicity testing performed on test organisms from three different trophic levels and activated sludge evidenced that the toxicity depends both on the test organism and on the sulfonamide used. The degradation of initial molecules is not always enough to eliminate the environmental risk due to the toxic products formed e.g. inhibitory effects to Vibrio fischeri increased by 34% at 2.5 kGy. For this reason, complex biological assessment of treated solutions has to play an important role in development and optimization of advanced treatment techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1015
Number of pages7
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume622-623
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018

Keywords

  • Activated sludge
  • Daphnia magna
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Vibrio fischeri

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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